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denotation (noun) the meaning and content of a word.
What a word actually describes is its denotation. What a word signifies or indicates rather than what is associated with it is its denotation. Denotation does not take into account the feelings, ideas, opinions associated with it. It does not make clear either, in what context the word is used.
- A dictionary is essentially a book of denotations of words, though, by quoting sentences from great writers, it points out how the word is to be used in the proper context. This helps as no two words with the same denotation, can be used in the same context.
- 'Calm' and 'tranquil' have the same meaning, that is same denotation, but they are not used precisely in the same context as they have slightly different connotations.